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Englishization and the politics of translation

Natalie Victoria Wilmot (School of Management, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK)
Susanne Tietze (Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)

Critical Perspectives on International Business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 9 December 2020

Issue publication date: 5 January 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the treatment of translation within the international business and management (IBM) literature to highlight colonialist assumptions inscribed in this treatment as a result of the hegemonic status of English.

Design/methodology/approach

This investigation takes the form of a systemic literature review to examine the treatment of translation in the IBM literature through a postcolonial lens.

Findings

The findings demonstrate that despite growing interest in language in international business, matters of translation have received comparatively little attention. However, those articles that do address translation matters tend to do so in five key ways, including epistemological/methodological considerations, exploring translator agency, the investigations of the discursive void/conceptual fuzziness between languages, and approaches that discuss translation as social practice.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the authors’ critique of English-language hegemony, this literature review is restricted to English-language journals, which the authors acknowledge as problematic and discuss within the article.

Practical implications

In exposing the limited treatment of translation within the literature, the authors provide a call to action for IBM scholars to be more explicit in their treatment of translation to ensure representation of cultural and linguistic Others, rather than providing domesticated accounts of multilingual research.

Originality/value

Although there have been other articles that have examined translation in the past, this paper is the first to do so through a postcolonial lens, demonstrating from a linguistic perspective the colonialist assumptions that are still prevalent in IBM knowledge production, as evidenced by the treatment of translation in the field.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section “Critical Perspectives on Language in International Business”, guest edited by Claudine Gaibrois, Philippe Lecomte, Mehdi Boussebaa and Martyna Sliwa.

No conflicts of interest to declare.

Citation

Wilmot, N.V. and Tietze, S. (2023), "Englishization and the politics of translation", Critical Perspectives on International Business, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 46-69. https://doi.org/10.1108/cpoib-03-2020-0019

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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